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By Noam J. Zohar

This discussion among the Jewish normative culture and Western ethical philosophy addresses vital modern matters in scientific ethics.

Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics includes a discussion among modern, Western ethical philosophy and the Jewish culture of legal/moral discourse (Halakha). spotting that no unmarried culture has a monopoly on legitimate ethical teachings, it seeks to counterpoint our moral views via mutual trade.

This is facilitated by means of a non-authoritarian method of Judaism--a transparent substitute to the implicitly insular, "take-it-or-leave-it" technique frequently encountered during this box. Following within the footsteps of classical rabbinic discussions, normative pronouncements are grounded in purposes, open to serious exam. The "alternatives" are in the ebook as well--the presentation all through avoids one-sided conclusions, bringing up and examining or extra positions to make feel of the talk. those specific arguments also are associated with a bigger photo, contrasting easy subject matters: spiritual naturalism as opposed to non secular humanism.

Concretely, the booklet addresses a number of the crucial modern concerns within the ethics of drugs. those contain assisted suicide and euthanasia, donor insemination and "surrogate" motherhood, using human cadavers for studying and learn, and allocation of scarce assets at either the person and social degrees.

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36 Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics 22. Maimonides's commentary to the mishna, pesahim 4:6. I thank Dr. Zvi Zohar for his meticulous examination and correction of my English version against the original Arabic. 23. 'The Obligation to Heal in the Judaic Tradition: A Comparative Analysis," in Rosner & Bleich (1979), pp. 1-44. 24. Nahmanides himself emphasizes this aspect of the talmudic heritage as a major determinant of Halakhic discourse based on the Talmud. See his introduction to milhemet hashem, printed at the beginning of the standard (Vilna, 1881) edition of Alfasi.

3 In contemporary policy regarding euthanaSia, the most crucial factor is the significance attached to the 'active/passive' distinction (killing vs. 4 In most jurisdictions, active cooperation with a patient's request to die would be criminal, while passive cooperation-such as, through foregoing certain possible treatments which the patient has either refused or simply not authorized-is normally obligatory. The distinction is Similarly held to carry decisive weight in the Jewish tradition. The following statement by Isaac Klein, a prominent Conservative rabbi, is fairly representative: 38 Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics Human life is precious, and its preservation takes precedence over every other consideration ....

Was of an active/passive distinction. However, our analysis of central traditional sources has revealed a principle not of passivity, but rather of respecting and facilitating-whether passively or actively-a natural death process. True, neither the term "natural," nor any equivalent term, is employed explicitly, but something like it appears necessary for making sense of the argument. The basic norm is put in terms of causal intervention. Hastening or hindering the death process must both equally be not only (passively) avoided but also (actively) prevented.

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